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Impeaching Donald Trump is ‘national disgrace,’ says Gus Bilirakis

Bilirakis, like other Republicans, claim Democrats lack evidence for impeachment.

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis joined the chorus of opposition from Republicans to the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Bilirakis spoke briefly in opposition to two articles of impeachment against Trump. Members of the United States House of Representatives are in the middle of a six-hour impeachment debate Wednesday that is likely to end with enough votes to officially impeach Trump.

Bilirakis called it a “darn shame” that the country finds itself in its current position.

“I pride myself on being a consensus builder who works across the aisled, but when it comes to the matter of impeachment I have no doubt that the process has been politically motivated. There’s absolutely no evidence that President Trump committed an impeachable offense, which is why I will vote no,” Bilirakis said.

The debate began at about noon on Wednesday after more than two hours of debate on rules for the proceedings. Since then, Democrats and Republicans have been alternating time to speak for or against impeachment.

The debate has, as expected, fallen completely along party lines with Democrats speaking in favor of it and Republicans opposed.

“This whole process has been a ploy to circumvent the will of the people by removing a duly elected president of the United States. It is a national disgrace and sets a dangerous precedent,” Bilirakis said. “Let’s put this ugly chapter behind us and get to work.”

If the House approves articles of impeachment, which they are expected to do, Trump will be the third President in U.S. history to be impeached. The matter would then head to the Senate for a trial to determine whether or not Trump should be removed from office.

The exact process for that trial is still under debate with Democrats and some Republicans hoping for a longer process that includes broad testimony from witnesses and most Republicans favoring a shorter hearing with limited testimony.

At this point, the Republican-controlled Senate is not likely to gain the two thirds majority vote needed to remove Trump from office.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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